STEREOMOJO SPECIAL REPORT
T.H.E SHOW 2009
Charles Greenless (very British) of Revolver Audio shows a pair of Cygnis speakers in piano black. These are outstanding speakers as we found in our review - another world's first. The new CD player from Talk Electronics is coming soon. Revolver, Talk and several other European lines are distributed in the US by USAHIFI.com.
Yes - speakers made out of glass! From Sweden's Perect 8 Technologies comes "The Force" The system is composed of two glass and gold towers fed through separate passive crossovers encased in matching boxes of semitransparent glass. The low end is delivered by 4 subwoofers each with dual 12" custom modified drivers, fed by a custom active filter. How did it sound? Well, we could joke about their "transparency" and how the sound was crystal clear, but the sound was actually pretty good.The room was big enough for the over six-foot tower, but we think we could find better value at prices less than the - are you ready? - $300,000 asking price.
Vince Bruzzese and his Totem "Wind".
The Totem "Wind" has been in the line for 10 years, but head guy Vince Bruzzese has taken another look at them and made some sweeping changes having to do mostly with reducing resonance.
First is new internal bracing to reduce resonance and a new floor decoupling system with ball bearings of different metals and different sizes. Vince told us that the different sizes and metals have nothing to do with time alignment, but he said, "As you know, every metal resonates with different frequencies, so the differnet metals and sizes are provided to let the owner tune the speaker to his particular room". US Sales manager Stephen Libin went on to say that the "regular" Wind with the standard wood finishes will stay in the line at $9,000, but the new version will come in the stunning new colors with "Ferrari grade" ultra quality lacquer finishes and improvements at about $12,000. The speakers and cabinets will still be made in Montreal. The new version is still in development. A future review is in the works.
As a whole, resonance (and reducing it) is at last being recognized as one of biggest factors in cleaning up sound in all parts of an audio system. Read our review of the Nola Baby Grands for some examples in speakers. Resonance has long been recognized in turntable design of course, but it also plays a big role in everything from amplifiers and crossovers to cables. We'll talk more about that with Paul Wakeen of Stillpoints who has led the way in research and systems to deal with the unwelcome invader, but look for a major trend in the industry as more and more designers take steps to deal with unwanted vibration and resonance.
Here's something new from Tangent Audio of France. Looking a bit like high-gloss exclamation points (!), the "Prestige" shown here goes for $6,000/pr when and if they are available in the US. For the treble they use the new Scan Speak Illuminator D3004 high end tweeter. To complement the Scan Speak tweeter they use custom designed woofers with an open die cast frame and very light mixed fiber cone. The crossover is a simple time coherent low loss design. Efficiency is 89db, but sales director Soren Winther told us the impedance was designed with an easy load for amplifiers in mind. He said he was going to ship the pair you see here to us, one black and one white, directly from the show for a first review, but a reply to the email with the shipping instructions did not come through because our mailbox was full with the load of spam sent by CES, so we'll see what happens - and we'll let you know as soon as we know.
Back to Laufer Teknik for this interesting new speaker form Boenicke Audio of Basel, Switzerland. Each speaker is intricately carved from a single block of wood as you can see below. Note the carved-in transmission line.
One kind of material proves to be more neutral and therefore more natural to the human ear than most other material, be it MDF, aluminum, granite or other exotic speaker cabinet material. According to Boenicke, that would would be flesh and bones. They joked (those witty Swiss) that they are working on a speaker made of entirely human bone (no flesh yet, we guess), but in the mean time they offer the second best solution - solid wood. In addition, they use what they think are the state-of-the-art in parts throughout, including 20-cm bass-midrange drivers with 6 times C-37 lacquered paper diaphragm, Marigo Audio VTS Tuning Dots, Harmonix Tuning Bases, Lacquered voice coil and maple phase plug, only one crossover part of "unrivalled quality" and the RAAL True Ribbon Tweeter that covers 4 octaves up to 100 khz. Note that this company is paying close attention to resonance factors like we mentioned earlier.
We have seen the rare ambience driver mounted on the rear of a cabinet, but this one is mounted on the top.
The specs are unusual as well:
IMPEDANCE: 3 OHMS
RESPONSE*: 20 - 100‘000 HZ
SENSITIVITY: 95 DB/WATT/M
DIMENSIONS**: APPROX. 24 / 124 / 47 CM WEIGHT***: APPROX. 60 KG
The sound? Infatuating and gripping! Huge soundstage with specific layers and detail. One of the better sounds in Vegas.
The price? Not cheap - $40,000/pr, but seems not unreasonable for what you get.
It may not be well represented here, but this was one of the most visually striking products we saw over four days.
Even when designer Johnnie Rasmussen was telling us about it, it was hard to take our eyes off of it.
This is the turntable by Bergmann. Can you guess where it is designed and made? Those clean lines and simple, elegant beauty?
Denmark - of course.
What is not readily apparent is that this is a completely air-bearing turntable - linear tracking arm and platter. According to Rasmussen, one of the best features is the simple arm. "You know that linear trackers are notoriously difficult to set up and maintain. I've made this very simple with just a few parts. It can be set up and playing in just a few minutes". The airbearing consists of two aluminum discs between which the air supply creates a thin frictionless air film. The spindle is centered in a bearing housing made of a very longwearing and frictionless technical polymeric. The material, which is vibration muffling in itself, has a five times longer life than e.g. bronze bearings, he told us. The 3,2 kg subplatter, which is made in solid aluminum, in combination with the 4 kg acrylic platter, provides a well-balanced system. When the clamp is screwed on the taps thread, the subplatter, platter and record gets tightened into one heavy and very stable rotating unit. An O-ring in the bottom of the clamp prevents the record from slipping on the platter.
From their literature we find: "A linear tracking airbearing tonearm can be produced in several ways. We have chosen the following construction: A long fixed air pipe with small vents creates a frictionless air film on which a sliding pipe gently floats. The arm tube is mounted on this sliding pipe. In this construction you avoid an air tube which inevitably interferes with the arm's freedom of movement. This type of arm is simple to adjust perfectly. The tonearm is made in a very hard aluminum alloy to secure the best stability as possible. The arm tube is made of carbon fibre - again to secure the best stability as possible. The head shell, made in the same hard aluminum alloy as the rest of the tonearm, is completely parallel with the sliding pipe, which results in a perfect azimuth. The internal wire is twisted in one piece from clips to plugs to avoid too many solderings in the extremely sensitive signal path. The tonearm has VTA adjustment and a possibility for perfect horizontal adjustment of the air pipe, independent of the plinth. The tonearm can be moved forward and backward on the plinth. Adjustment tools are enclosed"
The pump was hidden between chairs across the room, but even with an ear planted on it, there was no noise. "The air supply has been the object to one of our greatest attentions. The air must be even, clean and dry. Impulses from the pump are absorbed in an encapsulated reservoir. This results in an even air flow to the air bearings. The air supply is mounted with a filter, which prevents small dust particles from entering the system. This filter is exchangeable if necessary. Furthermore, there is a container for the accumulation of condensation. This container is placed on the back of the air supply and is easy to empty. The chosen pump is very reliable, and the total solution has a noise level so low that it can be placed in the listening room."
The Bergmann turntable is priced at $20,000 - including the tonearm.
Continue to PART 4
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